Marco Iozzi: Look Development Portfolio


Marco Iozzi updates his portfolio with some major goodies.  Marco is an awesome CG artist and look development specialist that has worked with many top studios, such as Psyop, The Moving Picture Company, and The Mill.

Marco Iozzi has a great passion for his craft and it shows through his dramatic visuals. He has a nice combination of film and commercial projects in his portfolio, yet despite the variety of projects on Marco’s site, the final product of each piece looks amazing. To top it off, his photography and cg breakdowns are nice contributions to his heavy arsenal of work.

Just looking at his online material left a thirst to find out more about the man behind the portfolio. I tracked down Marco, who was cool enough to share some of his career experiences in a Q & A session with Motionographer:

How did you get your start in this industry?
I come from Italy and to be honest it has not been easy. The quality of work is pretty low, as is the demand for creative content. But of course this would have not stopped me. My passion for movie-making started when I was a teenager. I fell in love with movies and special effects, and I became curious about how things were done on screen. I remember when I first had the chance to put my hands, at the University, on a copy of 3d Studio.  I’ll remember that moment, because its when I had a vague feeling of what could be possible. I was stuck, and I knew that no matter what, I wanted to do that for a living. I decided to study Visual Communication Design at the University, hoping to learn as much as possible about CGI, but actually it was not the case. Only years later I realized how all the other courses I was taking were so important to where I am now.

I left the University and attended a Softimage course. I knew that if I wanted to break in the industry I needed to learn a high end package like Softimage. After a few months of attending the course I received my first job offer, in the commercial industry. That’s where it all started, almost 10 years ago.

No matter which University or course, I’m like a lot of people out there, mainly self taught, because I spent hours and hours trying to learn these tools. It was like a drug.

After 2 years, Italy disappointed me and I knew inside I wanted to take the big step and move abroad. I was scared, but I knew that it was a due step to do if I really wanted to improve. If I had not put so much hours into creating personal stuff or improving my portfolio, I would have never gone far. And you know what? It’s not so different even now, after 10 years. What has changed is my role in this industry and what I study.

It’s not anymore about HOW things are made, it’s more about WHY…It’s more about why something works on screen and give you emotions. Why a story is well told and you as the audience embrace it and feel it…I could go on forever.

So it’s less and less about the tools and more and more about the content. All the amazing arts and crafts that could use CGI as a tool, to express an idea.

This is something that’s often forgotten.

What is your role in working with studios? Do you interact with directors to help realize their vision?
It depends on where you work and the size of the studio. I worked in places where you have to deliver a “well” defined product, and the creativity relies in creating something beautiful, important and effective story-wise. Enhancing the concept art you start from… Moreover another big challenge is understanding how to create something in a reasonable amount of time (never the case) for a reasonable amount of money (never the case).

Then there are places, more in the commercials field in my opinion, which work much more in contact with the agencies or deal with creativity inside. This is the case I prefer, cause based on the often rough concept, that comes from the agency, everything else has to be built from the ground up. And in this scenario you have the chance to work directly with the director and designers, with people from different fields, with different inputs and visions.

My role is to be in between this phase of pre-production and the actual production, shot-by-shot, phase. During look development we try to bring the powerful CG tools to the creativity phase, producing frames and animated sequences which won’t be final because they were created in a short amount of time. Instead they are utilized in the following ways:

– An effective conceptualization of the main idea.
– A powerful communication tool in the team, to develop the project further
– A very important first attempt to a work-flow, which, in an ideal world, will be the base for production.

A look is never established JUST in 3D or 2D, but most of the time in between, and during look dev we use all the tools we’re gonna eventually use.This is a powerful way to bridge creativity and production, plus, is a good way to bring on one side 3d tools closer to designers which could make an amazing use of them, and designers rules and vision to the 3D artists on the other side.

Do you have any formal art training and is it important to your skill set?
I took drawing and photography classes in University. Photography is a big interest of mine, and I think learning to shoot with a camera will be more and more visible in your matte / styleframes / renders . Things like composition and color are something absolutely important — even if its a sketch. I hope one day to know the best way of composing a shot, so that it will become second nature and more based on instinct.

What are you working on next?
Currently I’m working in my studio in Italy, mainly doing art direction for clients in Paris, New York and LA. At the same time I’m working on pitches for commercials and independent short films and personal photography work.

Do you have some advice for aspiring CG Artists?
Well there would be many things I’d love to say. Seriously, I’ll just say that you need passion, determination and stamina. This can be an amazing job. It will allow you to travel, see the world and meet amazing people. Compared to other jobs it will give you a much stronger feeling of freedom.

However, this does not come without a cost. It involves long hours, stress, constant challenges and hard hard work. This is only possible if your passion is really strong and if it’s “honest”.

Just another thing, don’t study the tools too much. They’re powerful and challenging, constantly improving, but they’re just tools. Study WHY and HOW to use them, to create and to express something.

Thank you for your time Marco, and as an important side note I’d like to mention some of Marco’s many accomplishments. Notably, he’s won a Visual Effect Society Award in 2008 for his role as lead artist with Jellyfish Pictures in the BBC Series, “Fight for Life”.


About the author

Tyquane Wright

I am a student at New York University. I love motiongraphics.



Nice interview. I was curious to know more about a “looks development specialist,” and if this is something/somebody a studio will bring on board only if they can afford it, or is it, in some ways, a Lead 3d (or 2d designer) who just really knows what he or she is doing?

I never heard the term and am fairly intrigued!

Igor Sordokhonov

top norch!

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